Review Boston Herald

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Review Boston Herald

Postby francey on November 4th, 2008, 8:51 am

Source Boston Herald :

"Head hunters fired up by David Byrne"

Can we talk about David Byrne doing a show of Talking Heads material without using the line “Same as it ever was”?

Probably not, but that’s the good news. At Friday’s show at Citi Wang Theatre, Byrne’s band wasn’t the same as the Talking Heads; the arrangements were fresh and a batch of new songs were in the mix. But the spirit was the same: a spirit of emotional connection and giddy creativity that’s been missing from too much of Byrne’s solo career.

The occasion was Byrne’s recent studio reunion with UK experimentalist and Heads/U2 producer Brian Eno; and the show was billed as“The Songs of Byrne and Eno.” The reclusive Eno was not onstage (he hasn’t stepped on one since 1974), but his influence was felt in rich layers of textured keyboard and percussion.

Songs from the new collaborative album “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today” were scattered through the set. While they were subtler than the Heads’ songs and lacked the trademark cross-rhythms, they worked on a different level. It’s a secular gospel album that uplifts with graceful melodies.

But the real news is that Byrne unearthed a batch of rarely placed Talking Heads songs, not just essentials such as “Life During Wartime,” “Crosseyed and Painless” and “Burning Down the House,” but a few deep tracks - the paranoid “Air,” the swirling “Great Curve” - that haven’t been played since the Heads’ demise.

Three dancers joined the band onstage, a move that could have looked precious, but wound up conjuring the art-party atmosphere of the “Stop Making Sense” era.

Byrne’s skittering guitar work was another link to those Head-y days, but his voice is more flexible now. A more athletic, gray-haired look suits him well, and he burst into wide grins numerous times, something that never happened in the old days.

The only thing missing was the Heads members themselves. The band was never mentioned onstage and Byrne tellingly called the Heads songs “ones that Brian Eno and I did with some other musicians.” It’s no secret that grudges are the only thing keeping the Talking Heads from reuniting. But now that Byrne is reconnecting with his greatest songs, it’s a shame he can’t also bury the hatchet with his greatest band.
"Why quote others when you can quote yourself ?" - Francey
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby muleskinner on November 4th, 2008, 11:45 am

<<But now that Byrne is reconnecting with his greatest songs, it’s a shame he can’t also bury the hatchet with his greatest band.>>

why is that a shame? I guess there were always those who wanted a Beatles reunion too. Personally, that's just nostalgic. I don't sense DB has a nostalgic bone in his body.

And "greatest band"? Didn't know he'd been in any other bands. Is the author saying this in terms of musicianship? If you do a little research on the musicians in the current band, I think it's fair to say they're impeccable musicians, every one of them. Seems to me what he's really saying is "shame he can't bury the hatchet with the band I liked the best".

Not trying to get into a big polemic, argument, and especially not a flame war with anyone who really wants a TH reunion, but let David Byrne be David Byrne. TH was only a phase of this great artist.
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby Mr.DRC on November 4th, 2008, 2:53 pm

"his" ?

" Pardon us for breathing..."
-some other musicians

simmer on a low heat and stir,stir,stir :twisted:
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby Peterb on November 7th, 2008, 12:40 pm

DB AND TH are cool.
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby tedkul on November 11th, 2008, 5:34 pm

muleskinner wrote:Not trying to get into a big polemic, argument, and especially not a flame war ...

You say it publicly, you open yourself up for argument.

muleskinner wrote: I don't sense DB has a nostalgic bone in his body. TH was only a phase of this great artist.

Really? Then why have all his TOURS been 50% Talking Heads and 50% whatever his most recent album is?

Q: When was the last time you heard him perform a song from Rei Momo?
A: The Rei Momo tour.

Q: When was the last time you heard a song from Uh-Oh?
A: The Uh-Oh tour.

Need I go on?

NEWSFLASH!! David Byrne concerts ARE NOSTALGIAFESTS! They're filled with old people (myself included) who give the mandatory standing ovation for him just showing up. Byrne may or may not have "a nostalgic bone in his body" but his wallet certainly seems to enjoy it. I've found his shows calculated and uninspired. Just "arty" enough to make the 50-year-olds still feel "cutting edge" but trotting out "Life During Wartime" and "Heaven" to bring down the house.

That said, stuff like playing the building, and the Marcos opera ARE truly interesting. And he's done a number of weird shows at Carnegie Hall that have been pretty different. And I haven't had a chance to try out his bike racks yet, but they look pretty cool.

muleskinner wrote:And "greatest band"? Didn't know he'd been in any other bands.

Well aside from the Artistics/Autistics, he's had a different band touring with him every few years. They are bands, no?

Well, not really. They're sidepeople, as you're pre-supposing. And I'm sure some of them have done some really interesting work. But I did "a little research" and none of Byrne's current/recent sidepeople have done anything near the caliber of the "sidepeople" he used to work with. Bernie Worrell was one of the INVENTORS of Funk: Adrian Belew is a legendary guitar player: regardless of their associations with Talking Heads/David Byrne.

Personally, I generally tend to like "bands" better than "artists" in general. More specifically, I know of very few instances where a lead singer/songwriter has quit their original band, and performed better as a "solo" artist. Once you become famous/rich, it becomes much easier to hire "yes-musicians" who understand that the famous person signs the check, and what they say goes. Which means that music-making is not a "communal activity" as Byrne/Eno used to so often triumph. Rather it's a commodity, produced by hired hands.

I'd be first in line to champion Byrne, if he were to JOIN/START a new band, and commit to working WITH them (as opposed to them working FOR him) for a period of time (I know that Mauro's been with him for over a decade now, but his name still doesn't appear on any of my concert tickets.) I really admired Bowie for trying to do that with Tin Machine.

But what I find so frustrating is that Byrne IS pandering to nostalgic casual Talking Heads fans (who don't want to admit it), but won't go for the WHOLE pandering (i.e. re-unite the old band).

I'm sure that Byrne has personal reasons and probably even financial reasons not to get back together with Talking Heads that are VERY VALID. But don't try to pass that off as some sort of "artistic purity" when I've had to sit through his passionless re-hashes of Take Me to the River at every David Byrne show I've seen for the last 15 years (and it always gets a standing ovation).
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby josecardozo on November 11th, 2008, 9:20 pm

he did play songs from the self titled and rei momo on his last tour.

liking his old songs doesn't mean liking his old band mates. when you divorce, you still get to see the kids, don't you?
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Re: Review Boston Herald

Postby Peterb on November 12th, 2008, 11:32 am

I think we should be grateful DB, Tom Tom Club etc kept making music.

There'd be nothing worse than here and now in 2008 reading, "Where are they now?" articles about TH etc. "Remember that band Talking Heads from the 80's? Whatever happened to them?" How frustrating would that be?

At least with DB solo, we continue to get to hear the lead singer/songwriter. We get to hear the original singer (and guitarist) sing the old TH songs.

Better than nothing, and hey, actually totally awesome.

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